Journalists’ safety in war zones

– Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia
The Malaysian Insider
September 03, 2011

SEPT 3 – The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia mourns the death of BERNAMA TV cameraperson Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, 41, who was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, while travelling with a group on an aid mission for the famine-struck nation. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends of the late Noramfaizul.

We welcome the Somali government’s assurance that the circumstances of his death will be investigated and conveyed to the Malaysian public, and hope that justice will be meted out to those responsible.

On their part, Malaysian authorities and organisers of such missions to conflict areas must clarify the protection measures undertaken for accompanying journalists. This would include providing journalists with a thorough safety briefing and training, as well as protective gear that should also differentiate them as journalists or neutral observers.

Media owners, too, must fulfil their responsibility to staff in terms of basic protection, such as ensuring insurance coverage for tasks undertaken in the line of duty. As well, given the trend toward regional reporting and the concurrent need for journalist protection, media owners can work with organisations such as the International News Safety Institute to provide journalists with safety training and equipment.

Ultimately, with all the humanly possible preparations in place, the decision of whether to accept deployments to danger zones must be the journalist’s alone. Journalists must be fully aware of the conditions and risks of their assignment, and if they think the safety measures are inadequate, they must have the right to decline such tasks without fear of disciplinary repercussions from their employers. Journalists must take a stand and assert their right to protection while on the job.

CIJ urges Malaysian media organisations to ensure that those who accept assignments to conflict areas or danger zones are experienced journalists who have gone through appropriate hostile environment and risk awareness training and have the necessary safety equipment before going on these assignments.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 7:37 am

    Unfortunately, there are political parties which see pursuit of fame and popularity more important than human lives.

  2. #2 by HJ Angus on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 10:41 am

    It is a great tragedy when innocent lives are lost unnecessarily.
    Bernama should focus more on news at home that is accurate and credible rather than spend resources in conflict zones where we cannot provide adequate protection.

  3. #3 by Cinapek on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 10:58 am

    Deepest condolences to the family of the Bernama cameraperson. It is always especially cruel to have a life snatched away suddenly and in the prime of their lives.

    I hope his supreme sacrifice has been worth it. I hope and pray that it was not sacrificed for some attention seeking stunts craved by some desperate and bankrupt political parties hungry for publicity. If indeed it was so, I hope those who had planned this stupid stunt can search in their conscience the justification for the idiocy of their act and seek the forgiveness from the family members of the late
    Noramfaizul Mohd Nor. Likewise, his bosses, Bernama, should also ask themselves if they had contributed to his death by assigning him to go on this dangerous mission that has no purpose or benefit except to bolster the ego of cheapskate some third grade politicians.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 11:32 am

    Send FLOM n hubby on d next aid mission lor, very safe what

  5. #5 by k1980 on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 12:01 pm

    The Somali people have been living in a country at war, with no government, for 20 years, with several long periods of hardship, of famine and drought.

    A brutal war between the transitional government, which is backed by western nations and supported by African Union troops, and armed Islamist opposition groups, notably al-Shabaab, is ongoing in Somalia. Fierce clan loyalties keep independent international assistance away from many communities, meaning that Somalis are trapped between various forces, depriving them of food and healthcare for political reasons.

  6. #6 by cemerlang on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 1:00 pm

    Even cicakman knows what is safety first. He doesn’t rescue without wearing his suit.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 1:39 pm

    Why are bolehsians poking their noses in somalia when their own people are dying of neglect in Bolehsia? Look at what happened to Kam Ah Gong….

    They failed to monitor her and neglected her. They performed Cesarean with complications but failed to consult a Gynecologist. They discharged her in a hurry. Her condition deteriorated and they blamed it on her age. They knew something was gravely wrong with her and urgently discharged her for the second time. They sent her back to Long Semado hoping that she will die without notice.

  8. #8 by undertaker888 on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 2:01 pm

    Kalau sudah bodoh tak payahlah nak tunjuk sombong pula. Inilah Akan terjadi. Orang akan terbunuh. Semua ni kerja orang bodoh umno. Kalau nak berbudi, dinegara sendiri, ada orang penan, dan yang lain perlu bantuan, pi lah filem kat sana.

    ohhh lupa saya. Yang miskin kat sini semuanya umno yang buat.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 3:10 pm

    What do Malaysians benefit by sending our journalist to cover a war zone are like Somalia..where we cannot help at all.
    Why can’t we rely on International news?
    The government need to give good reasons to satisfy the deceased immediate family.
    Compensations will not bring back the dead that is priceless to the love ones.
    Najib asked Oppositions not to make a political issue on this sad incident.
    It is due to UMNO B politics that we are suspecting he was sent there.
    Najib need to explain why he was here and not tell Malaysians to keep quiet.

  10. #10 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 4:40 pm

    In short, I UMNO Putera whatever nonsense club is just like some schoolboy on a picnic jaunt.

    Now that the bullet has hit…they wake up!

    Such a stupid club led by some stupid UMNO MP from an UMNO party that should nopt be allowed to run wild in broad daylight. Such men must never be given the reins of government. Such stupid men are a danger to them,selves and others.

  11. #11 by cemerlang on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 7:31 pm


  12. #12 by tak tahan on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 10:38 pm

    What is one lost of life or few more to Umno?Better to fish for votes from those simpletons and stay onto power forever and ever.Then they could surpass Gaddafi and the likes and be the most super rich among the muslims.Very good stunt indeed..yes no doubt about it,hence a big round applause to the 1 Umno Putera club.Yo man.

  13. #13 by dagen on Monday, 5 September 2011 - 8:55 am

    Wait wait wait.

    Somali gobermen = umno gobermen. I mean, look. They are the same. Well same genus. Same type. Same behaviour. Same attitudes. Know wot I mean?

    Now here we have somali gobermen’s assurance. That assurance would be as good as the assurance usually given by the umno gobermen. Assurance we hear all the time like, isa will be subtantially amended, nep will be abolished, street crime rates will be addressed, umno will change, corruption will be reduced by macc, and dozens upon dozens of other assurances.

    All of these assurances eventually turned into nothing for nothing positive or beneficial ever came out of them. So the question is, how are we to believe the assurance of the somali’s gobermen.

    Of course umno is suitably comforted by that assurance. Well why would it not be? One rotten gobermen communicating with another equally rotten gobermen.

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